Positive Keyword Conflicts & Ad Group Negatives
Variety is good, but watch for conflict!
Keywords are a fundamental aspect of Google Ads and pay-per-click marketing. When creating a campaign, it’s important to get a good variety of keywords to target as many relevant users as possible.
When you get down to the very fine optimisation of a campaign, often there are only very small differences between your different sets of keywords and ad groups. For example, if you were selling Rugs in Brisbane, one of your ad groups might include the term “Rugs For Sale” while another ad groups might contain the term “Rugs For Sale In Brisbane”.
Now, depending on what keyword match type you’re using, this might trigger a keyword conflict. If you’re using the “Phrase” or “Broad” match types, then it’s likely that someone typing in “Rugs For Sale In Brisbane” into Google will trigger terms in each of your ad groups, as “Rugs For Sale” is present in both.
Isn’t it better to show for more?
While it might seem like a good idea to cover all your bases and try to get the majority of the impression share, having keyword conflicts in your account can do a lot more harm than good. If both of these keywords are available to show, it essentially starts an in-house bidding war between your two keywords to see which one should show. This can cause the CPC of these keywords to jump up and can cost you a lot of excess money that you didn’t need to spend to land that ad position.
It can also really hurt the performance of a particular ad group containing the conflicted term. If one of the terms has a higher bid, it’s likely that the other keyword term won’t show as often. As a result, it will have lower visibility and experience less traffic.
Utilise negative keywords
The best way to combat keyword conflicts is by using negative keywords. On Google Ads, negative keywords can be set at a campaign level, or ad group level. By setting negative keywords at an ad group level, you can direct traffic to the ad group with the right keyword you want to show for a particular term.
Going back to our example, if you had the same scenario, but this time the ad group containing the keyword “Rugs For Sale” had the negative keyword “Brisbane” on the ad group, then the term “Rugs For Sale Brisbane” wouldn’t be eligible to show. That way, the search would automatically go to the “Rugs For Sale Brisbane” ad group.
Small tweaks like this can make a huge difference in an account. If you’re running a large account with hundreds of keywords, then it’s even more important to make sure that you’re not overspending and are getting the best performance out of your keywords.
Written by Lachlan Ward